Nearly 5 Million New Gun Owners in 2020

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posted on August 26, 2020
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Nearly five million new gun owners have joined the 100 million-plus gun owners already in the U.S. in 2020, according to recent estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The same data also shows that 40% of all firearms sales are going to first-time buyers.

“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said Lawrence G. Keane, the NSSF’s senior vice president and general counsel. “These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. That’s rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”

According to the NSSF-adjusted data for background checks, the first seven months of 2020 saw a record 12.1 million background checks conducted—up 71% from the same period of 2019. All of this adds up to an astonishing five million new gun owners this year.

To more accurately reflect the number of firearms purchases, the NSSF analyzes background checks from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and factors out those that likely are not used in the purchase of a firearm.

Further surveys indicate that 58% of firearm purchases were done by black Americans, while women initiated 40% of all purchases. Firearms retailers also noted that sales of firearms had nearly doubled, and ammunition sales were up 139% from 2019.

This year, we’ve seen record after record fall, as Americans are making the prudent decision to take their Second Amendment rights into their own hands amidst uncertainty. Each month since March, NSSF-adjusted background checks have set a record as the largest ever for that month. 

Americans are also making the decision to embrace the Second Amendment as the possibility of a Joe Biden presidency looms. Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have proposed some of the strictest gun-control measures in history. However, Americans are making their voices heard as they vote with their wallets before this all-important election.

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Philip Schreier
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